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Climbing Past 90: It’s a Parade!


After Rev. Rufus Morgan celebrated his 93rd birthday on Mount Le Conte in 1978, the lodge went a long time without another 90-year-old man making the climb. Now, there have been two in the span of a week.

On May 12, 2022, George and Carol Fritz of Franklin, N.C., made the climb at 90 and 85. They are members of the Nantahala Hiking Club, which was founded by Rev. Morgan.

On May 18, Dr. Kip Miller and his wife Jean, ages 90 and 88, made the climb for the first time in four years. Residents of Jackson, Tenn., they have climbed Le Conte 255 times. Kip completed the 5.2-mile ascent in 2:48, which is a swift time for any age. Joining them was Bill Broome, 92, Kip’s brother-in-law, who hiked two miles to Inspiration Point. We now have documented 21 climbers over age 80, including three men and two women over 90. Unofficial records at http://LeContest.com/LeContest-records.


Jean Miller (left) and Kip (right rear) with their family.

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